|Cover art Eliran Kantor|
2016's already been a good year for metal, with quite a few high profile releases delivering the goods. But, somewhat to my surprise, the album that left the biggest mark on me so far is the The Wizard Falls EP from up and coming Danish "total metal" band Iotunn. Up and coming may be a misnomer, as Iotunn surrounds themselves with the trappings of a much more experienced band: cover art by the masterful Eliran Kantor, and a crystal clear and beefy production (those drums got PUNCH!) by the Flemming Rasmussen.
This wouldn't mean much if Iotunn didn't also deliver in the playing, and the writing-of-songs departments. And deliver they do, The Wizard Falls sounds like a band that has been doing this for a long time, and become very good at it. Powerful and progressive songs performed with superb skill and confidence. For a prime example check the epic closer "Frost"; starting with the golden tonsils of singer (and bassist) Benjamin Jensen stretching out on the first few lines, before segueing into the effective chugging of the chorus. The song takes you down engaging paths, and does it effortlessly. Reaching the end of the journey with an extended solo; fluid and melodic, just like the days of olden.
You may have noticed I haven't discussed what kind of music actually plays. It's difficult to put Iotunn into one of those neat genre boxes. Progressive power metal is a good start, at least if you consider the more muscular US version of the genre. As the "days of olden" hints at you can hear classic heavy metal in Iotunn's songs. But also thrash metal, progressive rock, and even a few black metal style vocals. Total metal indeed. While not being groundbreaking or totally innovative, I think it's safe to say that Iotunn has a sound shared by very few (if any) current bands, and that in itself is refreshing.